Law & Order: Epatha May Stay, Meloni In, Erbe Back?

It’s spring, and a young man’s fancy turns to the soap operas at the various “Law & Order” shows.

I can tell you that sources say S. Epatha Merkerson may not be leaving “Law & Order” so fast. Even though Merkerson announced that she was exiting her role after 20 seasons, I am told that this is just a negotiating ploy. “L&O” grand poobah Dick Wolf is notoriously tough on money. But Merkerson is the show’s only tie to its past. She started there in 1993. Next season, if it’s renewed, “L&O” would become the longest running series ever. It doesn’t seem possible that NBC and Wolf won’t make that p.r. hook happen. And they can’t do it without Merkerson. So hold on. Lt. Anita van Buren may yet play out a final record breaking season.

And there’s more: Chris Meloni is now saying he’s staying with “Law & Order: SVU.” In February, he gave some quote that he was out. But “SVU” can’t function without Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, who’ve become savvy negotiators themselves. Merkerson probably took a page from their book. See how this works?

And finally: the word from the set of “Criminal Intent” is that Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows are not getting along, that Burrows may not be working out, and the stage could be set for Kathryn Erbe–whom I reported exclusively months ago was purged along with Vincent D’Onofrio and Eric Bogosian–might be brought back around Episode 5.

Hold on, because it’s all volatile, and anything could happen. One thing’s for sure: fans continue to write this column saying they are agree that D’Onofrio and Erbe are gone, and that they won’t watch a Goldblum-only show.

As far as the original “L&O”: Wolf should make sure Merkerson is there, and bring back as many of the living alumni as possible next season for an all-star send off. Fans want to see Paul Sorvino, Michael Moriarty, Richard Brooks, Jill Hennessy, Angie Harmon, etc. It could be a bonanza!

19 Responses to “Law & Order: Epatha May Stay, Meloni In, Erbe Back?”

  1. 1 Heather April 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Letting Erbe go from CI was a huge mistake. What I think USA/Dick Wolfe don’t understand about most CI fans is “our” loyalty. We have come to love a show that centers around two amazing actors/characters and intelligent storylines. When USA/Dick Wolfe wrote VDO and Erbe out the heart of the show left with them.The G/E finale was a travesty (worst episode ever) and I’m not surprised SB and JG aren’t getting along as they had no chemistry together on screen. (unlike Erbe/VDO and Erbe/JG) If there is any chance Erbe will come back I would happily watch the show. Hopefully, they make her an offer and they hire better writers for S9. The level of writing I’ve come to expect from CI has to be there too.

  2. 2 rg April 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    The only way I’ll watch CI again is with D’ONOFRIO back. They can bring everybody else back they want, but without Vincent it still sucks. I will be even more upset if she comes back without him. They were a team. And I don’t care if Vincent wanted to go or not, it was GOREN and Eames.

  3. 3 Jennifer April 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Horrible, horrible ending for D’onofrio and Erbe. Not under any circumstances will our family watch another CI. Bring both of them back!

  4. 4 xfool92 April 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Merkerson is nor rhw only tie to the show’s past. Sam Waterston started with the show not too long after she did. He’s really the person the show needs to worry about.

    Jeff and saffron not getting along? Surprising, since he has gone out of his way to ber very complementary of her AND it was also said he recommended her for the role.

  5. 5 Lorry April 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    So, the plot thickens. USA is just now getting a clue? As if the problem wasn’t obvious from the start-Goldblum. We’d heard that last year with him and Nicholson, and the debacle that was season 8.
    Assuming even part of this is true, if I were Kate Erbe, I’d tell the PTB go um, jump off a pier into shark infested waters (not my original idea, but I’m trying to be a lady). And if she does decide to do it, make them write her a check with MANY zeroes (and maybe the option to have Vincent grace our presence once more.)
    As a fan, I’ve never been big on writing to the networks when a show is to be canceled, wehatever. I love well-acted, well-scripted drama. I don’t do reality TV in any form, and there are few comedies around that are worth my time. But cheap and fluff is no substitute for quality. I guess I’ll go back to reading books-and watching the better stuff on TNT.

  6. 6 Dani April 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I am with rg. It’s all or nothing. Even if they bring back Eames, I will not watch the show without Goren. They can hip and hype to their hearts’ content–there is no CI without Goren, and that’s the bottom line.

  7. 7 sarahp April 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Jill Hennessy’s character was killed off, so I doubt she’d be back for any kind of alumni special.

  8. 8 Kelly April 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I think to safe to say I think USA networks don’t realize that team of Goren and Eames been there since CI wsa on NBC networks so any exec who watch NBC version of the show know what cash cow and good storylines coming out of CI back in da day

    If they going bring back DA how about bring back Steven Hill aka DA Adam Shriff who was on the show for good 10 year that be rating bonazna for NBC

  9. 9 Anna April 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I am not surprised about Chris Meloni, however. However, I am surprised about S. Epatha Merkerson. It wouldn’t feel like Law and Order without her, so I it’s good news for mothership fans, though her interview with EW made it clear she was serious about leaving, so I don’t know…

    I admit, I would go back to watching CI if TPTB brought back Erbe/Eames, but I doubt Erbe would even WANT to go back after being let go, and to add insult to injury, they made them take a backseat to their own series finale.

    Plus, I kind of like the idea they gave us of Goren and Eames leaving the force together.

    I’m surprised to hear about Burrows and Goldblum not getting along. He went out of his way to praise her in interviews. But then again, is he really going come out and say they don’t get along? Especially if they have a show to promote?

  10. 10 cv April 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I’d love to see Jill Hennessey back but her character’s dead on the Mothership so I don’t think that’s happening…

  11. 11 vpd April 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I’m a big Goldblum fan since the first time I saw him, which was before The Fly. I think he is smart and imaginative enough to win us over. D’Onofrio looks burnt-out, and I think there is enough to the story that we aren’t told to believe the chapter is written, you might say. Finito. The negotiating point for my viewership is bringing Erbe back to partner Goldblum. I’m anticipating great things to come with this pairing – just you watch…

  12. 12 VDOVault April 9, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I’ve moved on my fellow fans though I support you in this…

    I get it that USA Network is not interested in the original fans of Law & Order Criminal intent the ones without whose help a few years ago they could not have reached #1 basic cable network. Since we can’t goose their numbers (except maybe downward when we all leave) for them enough anymore they don’t give a flaming one about us. Message received loud & clear USA.

    Bringing anyone back to the show isn’t going to win me back. I really resent USA Network using Jeff Goldblum as a human shield trying to sweet talk the Goren or nothing camp of fans into watching. It’s like trying to serve someone who ordered fillet mignon in a 5 star restaurant a cold half eaten Big Mac fished from the dumpster & insisting it’s what they want: news flash you need to listen to your customers and early on not ignore and argue with them. Jeff’s a nice guy, talented, sweet, a Pittsburgher and I feel just sick for him (so much so I’ve pledged to support ANYTHING ELSE he’s in including some movie with creepy Jennifer Aniston in August and I LOATHE her but for Jeff’s sake I’ll go opening weekend) but unlike USA I have my principles and I stick to them.

    I don’t know Saffron Burrows’s work well but dragging her into this (because as great as Jeff is, apparently even he’s not tall enough for USA to duck behind instead of owning their bad casting decisions & their even worse handling of my fandom) frankly makes me *EVEN LESS* inclined to watch. I smell made up story being fed to Roger here to cover USA’s PR hiney. USA had months of warnings from fans asking for info on renewals & casting and they chose not to deal with them honestly so it’s on them. I feel for Saffron too so I’ll now support her other projects too and really USA could you be any more cowardly and craven than this?

    This has been a long & painful breakup for this fan (Vincent’s health an issue in season 4 because he’s not creatively happy, NBC dumping CI, best writers gone, original cast all gone, now flailingly incompetent PR handling show & has been for months) and as far as I’m concerned if USA wants to chase booty call type viewers at the expense of the long-term relationship it had with me, they’ve been served. They shouldn’t now come crying to me at 3 am cause they’re lonely for the company of my eyeballs. I am a human being not some fungible consumer or viewer, so show me and my fellow fans some freaking respect already.

    I don’t begrudge the marvelous Kathryn Erbe any work but she strikes me as too self-confident & savvy to fall for this ploy. For goodness sakes she’s been on a crime drama for years, you think she can’t spot a ruse when she sees one?

    Roger I thought you were smarter than this…you disappoint me (though you clearly like the hits from me & my peers). Shame on you for not seeing this item as suspect.

  13. 13 Dottie April 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I was very disappointed with the last CI epiosode. I too want Goren & Eames back. I will no longer watch the show. I do not care for the new cast.

  14. 14 Dottie April 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I was very disappointed in the last ending. I also want to see Goren and Eames back. I will not watch CI with the new cast.

  15. 15 kathy pearl April 11, 2010 at 12:43 am

    the end of the G/E run was handled so disrespectfully to the good work VDO and Erbe has given them over the years that it had me angry and disgusted.
    thier *fabulous* writers changed Goren from the intellectual crime solver to a sniveling push’m around freak of a bully.. all his nuances were distroyed.. so now they give the show a poor excuse for a Goren clone.. you have to wonder.. what was wrong with the original?.. and up to the end they had re-created Erbe from a compliment to Gorens genius, to an almost unlikable vindictive and unfeeling woman.. thankfully she was saved at the end.
    there is no way in hell i would support USA’s endeaver.. they may as well change the name of the show .. it is NOT LOCI anymore.. not even a resemblance.
    color me indifferent at best.


  16. 16 megan April 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    P.S I just read that all the writers were fired and these are new writers? No wonder the finale stunk. We were SO looking forward to the two parter finale..but what a disappointment! Just give us good NEW YORK crime stories. We could barely follow this stupid plot.It was SO bad we wondered if D’Onofrio leaving was really him escaping (and smartly) this new overhaul of a stinky show that used to be so great. But still, HE is the only one who might be able to save it.. ONLY HIM.

  17. 17 Marie May 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Even if I’ll deeply miss S. Epatha Merkerson, I’ll still be watching L&O for many more seasons as long as Sam Waterston is there as a non so conventional DA. Plus give Connie back her wittiness and backbones and some new SMART suits.

    With Goren and Eames gone, I don’t care about CI.
    If VDO doesn’t want to come back and TPTB wants to salvage the series, then it’s better to team Erbe with Burrows, she fitted in more than Goldblum, i still find his character fake.

  18. 18 eo May 4, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I’m so glad that CM will stay!! Coudn’t imagine the show or Olivia without Elliot

  19. 19 Jim June 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Hold on to Kathryn Erbe, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Eames Rules! In fact, make her the LEAD detective, alternating with Jeff Goldbloom, and bring up someone behind her.

    While we are at it, Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson are great!

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